Farewell to my ex-neighbor, Dolphy

Posted at 07/13/2012 1:11 AM

(Editor's intro: Raissa, foreign correspondent for South China Morning Post and Radio Netherlands, is an independent blogger.)

Yes, Dolphy was my former neighbor when I was a kid growing up on Ubay Street in Quezon City.

The entire neighborhood knew that the big house at the street corner was the “Quizon compound” and the father was “the famous comedian Dolphy”.

I was very usisera even as a child. Sometimes I would stand across the Quizon house to stare at the gate, waiting for people to emerge. Since the house held a lot of people, it wasn’t very long when I would see some of the children. They were all mestizo, I recall. I never got to find out if that was Dolphy’s real family or not.

I never spoke to them.

I did not think my parents would approve because I had earlier been told in hushed tones that they were living “in sin”. At that time, I only knew that living “in sin” meant Dolphy was not married to the mother of his children.

But I always wondered even then why Dolphy would be regarded as living “in sin”, while the priest in my hometown of San Antonio, Nueva Ecija who said Sunday mass and who had a mistress was not. In my young unformed mind, I worked out why – the priest was not married but Dolphy was.

The neighbor snubbed

The parents, including mine, in Ubay Street – a strictly middle class neighborhood – had a Catholic group called the Christian Family Movement or CFM. The only thing I recall about CFM is that meetings were rotated from one house to another in the entire neighborhood Well, not exactly. CFM did not include Dolphy or his “wife”.

So they were never there when there was a CFM neighborhood Christmas Party where the children were trotted out to sing or declaim or dance.

Despite never having met the man, I grew up hearing Dolphy and Panchito jokes. Some of them were toilet humor; some were slapstick. Some were downright funny.